In case you haven’t noticed, 2012 has been a BIG pollen year so far. The patients I see and the pollen counts I observe tell me the same thing – the pollen arrived earlier and is persisting longer than in most years. Why is this true?
First, the winter of 2011 was very mild, with fewer days below freezing than usual. This unusual temperature variation allowed pollen-producing plants, especially trees, to begin pollination heavier and earlier than usual.
The mild winter seemed to load up the trees for a big pollen explosion in the spring.
Second, the weather during the spring was perfect for the buildup and distribution of pollen. Days with lower humidity and no rain caused dryer outdoor air, which allowed the pollen to remain suspended in the air longer. So, with each new day of pollen production, the pollen concentration in the air increased more and more.
Furthermore, the light winds of spring stirred and distributed this airborne pollen soup all over the CSRA. It wasn’t until we had some rain and humidity that the counts fell a bit.
Now, as we leave this year’s powerful spring pollen blast behind, let’s hope the summer grass pollens and fall weed pollens are a friendlier experience. If not, remember that effective and safe remedies are available for allergy sufferers.
Because complete pollen avoidance is impossible and over-the-counter medications are not always effective, many allergy sufferers are better served to see their doctor or allergist.